Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Meal In Need Is a Meal Indeed

When my first child was born my mother came up to help out. I needed that help badly. Since my son was born two weeks before the due date I missed out on the section of the childbirth classes that dealt with what to do after the birth. I had no idea how to pin a cloth diaper or what to do with a crying baby.

My mother stayed with us, made meals for us, and got up in the middle of the night with the baby. She'd change him, bring him to me to nurse, then take him away and put him back to bed. It was wonderful.

Of course, like all good things, it had to come to an end and she had to return home and I had to learn how to do it all on my own. After about 3 weeks, when I wasn't certain I could make it through another day, a sweet friend brought over dinner and a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls. What a wonderful gift! She had a little one of her own and told me she'd learned that the best time to bring a dinner is not right after the baby's born. That's when mom gets all the help and attention. It's several weeks after the birth, when all the helpers have gone home and mom is a sleep-deprived zombie, that the gift of a dinner means the most.

I've taken her words to heart and have now perfected my "in time of need" dinner, Easy Enchiladas. When I make the dinner for my family I double the recipe and put into zip-lock bags a meal's worth, then I have extras in the freezer for a dinner later, or I can grab one and take it to a family who's had a baby, a hospitalization, or been down with the flu and haven't been able to get to the grocery store in a week. And if they've been flooded with casseroles, they can stick the enchiladas into the freezer and pull them out when they need them.

These are not "authentic" by any stretch of the imagination, but they're quick to fix, don't call for any obscure ingredients, and my family gets happy every time these are on the menu. Even my 6 year old, who dissects his food, gobbles them up.

Easy Enchiladas
- adapted from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook

1-1/4 lbs ground turkey
2 cups shredded Jack cheese
3/4 cup sliced green onion
3/4 cup sour cream (low-fat is OK)
3 Tbsp snipped parsley
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp pepper
24 oz. canned tomato sauce
3 Tbsp canned chopped green chilies (optional - I usually do without)
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Flour tortillas
Olives (optional)
Guacamole (optional)

1- Preheat oven to 350, if you're going to cook the enchiladas today.

1- Cook and stir the ground turkey in a skillet until light brown: drain. Remove from the heat.

2- In a large bowl combine 1-1/2 cups of the cheese, the green onion, sour cream, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add the cooked meat and gently toss to combine.

3- Heat remaining ingredients, except tortillas, olives and guacamole, to boiling. Reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

4- Spoon about 1/4 cup of meat mixture onto each tortilla, roll the tortilla. If you're preparing the meal to eat today, place the rolled tortillas into a rectangular baking dish (11 x 7 works well). Spread the sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.

5- Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Garnish with sliced olives and guacamole before serving.

To save enchiladas in the freezer, place as many as you need for a meal into a gallon zip-loc bag. In a snack-size bag, place the half cup of cheese for garnish. In a sandwich size zip-loc bag put enough sauce for topping. Seal both bags in with the enchiladas. Write baking instructions on the bag with a sharpie.

To cook, thaw the enchiladas,then follow cooking instructions above.


RecipeGirl said...

Oh, enchiladas. The best sort of comfort food! My 7 year old dissects things too, but he likes a good enchilada. Great idea for dinner this week :)

Sarah said...

I adore enchiladas! And not authentic works for me. As long as there is cheese involved, I am a happy girl!

Julianne said...

I read your profile, and we have exactly the same jobs. I bet we get the same salary too! These look delicious.

I liked reading about your mom and when your son was born. Isn't that just the best time. My best friend brought over a meal the day after I got home from the hospital and it was a lifesaver

VeggieGirl said...

"In time of need" dinners are always fabulous; and hooray for moms always being there!! :0)

Lisa said...

What a great idea. I will have to make up a batch of these and double it too! I have a good friend who is going thru radiation right now, these would be perfect to bring to her and hubby. Thanks Lynn!

Heather said...

i would definitely be bewildered if i didn't know what to do with a baby ;) these look delicious! you must be a wonderful friend/neighbor!!

Debbie said...

What a great idea to freeze them for another meal! I can eat enchiladas anytime...and so can my 9 year old!

abigail @ Piece of Cake said...

totally sounds promising. im up for any new food item that a kid of mine may chance eating :)

Aimée said...

I'm always looking for new meals to freeze. Thanks Lynn, these look great and my little one is a fan of the burrito, so I'm sure he would eat this!

Baking Soda said...

Your mom and your friend both deserve a medal of honor! Each came at your doorstep just at the right time! Delivering goodies at the doorstep is so much more "common" and appreciated in the US I think. I do that here and more often than not people look at me funny... as if I suspect them to be unable to provide food themselves. Very awkward in receiving but the stories are told for years after. Funny!

LyB said...

This is wonderful Lynn! I have a friend who just had a baby and I was looking for dishes I could prepare and bring to her for those "zombie" days. I will be making these for sure! :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

You are so fortunate to have such a loving mother and caring friend, Lynn. And we're fortunate to have this delicious recipe. Thanks so much!

Grace said...

as a cilantro-obsessed person, i've never tried parsley in my enchiladas, but you've enticed me to try. they look delicious, but then really, what enchiladas don't? :)

Dee Light said...

I just love enchiladas!! I'll have to give yours a try.

Sandra said...

And I love it when the kids ask what's for supper then when I tell them I hear that little yessssssss. Love it.

alexandra's kitchen said...

For some reason, I think of enchiladas as being a lot of work, too. It's nice to find an easy recipe! and one that freezes well, too.

Peabody said...

Easy is the way to go. I can't eat em, but I do make them for the husband. We at the pizza rolls the other day and they were tasty!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

You've done it again Lynn, what a wonderfully perfect idea . . . and enchiladas are just the perfect match for it and my sis just became a grandmother yesterday!

Prudy said...

Those look wonderful. I also loved your writing. That is such an overwhelming but sweet and tender time when baby number one arrives. Even diapering and caring for a newborn can seem like monumental tasks until you learn to do it. I know that's how I felt. This would make a great drop off dinner for a friend.

Maria said...

I love Mexican food. Your enchiladas look amazing! I haven't made them in awhile. Thanks for the reminder!!

Rose&Thorn said...

I was given a recipe for tortillas last week and have been thinking of what to make with them.. this look like just the ticket!

Anonymous said...

I was amazed when i made this recipe for the first time (our dinner this evening)it was really delish but I think I will omit the green onions "I love green onions" but I'm not kinda liking it with the enchilada....thanks for giving such a good ideas and next time I can make my a very simple sauce and not to worry about looking for a real aunthentic enchiladan sauce -tomato sauce, cummin and ground chili works really well! Thanks again!